When the world gets closer.

We help you see farther.

Sign up to our expressly international daily newsletter.

TOPIC: working conditions

Work In Progress

Hot Summer Jobs: How Global Warming Weighs On The Workplace

As workers around the globe are faced with the mercury rising, jobs both inside and outside are becoming less and less bearable in the summer months.

PARIS — It’s August again, temperatures are topping 30 ℃ (86 ℉), and I work in an office in the center of France’s capital that dates back to the 19th century. Needless to say, it has not been equipped with air-conditioning nor built to shield against heat waves. We work with fans, and hide the sunlight with make-shift curtains.

Of course, I am among the lucky ones. On my way to and from the office, I can’t help but notice those who are obliged to work outside, under the scorching sun, often with heavy gear and extra clothing to protect themselves. How could they ever stay cool? Who’s looking out for their health and safety?

Over the past few years, our planet has been faced with steadily more severe heat waves. We have had to learn how to live with rising temperatures and adapt our daily lives to the on-the-ground reality of global warming . And for 40 or so hours a week, it is a decidedly work-related question.

The unbearable heat that has taken over some countries since the start of July has been fatal for some. According to French daily Les Echos , France registered 80 more workplace-related deaths than usual during the heatwave in July. Now, nations are taking new measures and re-evaluating working conditions to face this environmental phenomenon.

Watch Video Show less

Dark Summer: Inside The Harsh Living Conditions Of Ibiza's Seasonal Workers

A severe housing shortage means that many of those who come to serve the millions of tourists on the Spanish island can't find a decent place to sleep. Some wind up sleeping in their cars or on flea-infested mattresses. The spirit of Ibiza as an easy-going meeting place is fading away.

IBIZA — It's a world-renown paradise off the coast of Spain, with more than 2 million visitors arriving each year. But now, during the summer high season, the island of Ibiza has become a hell for the many people who work to serve the rush of tourism in hotels, restaurants, markets, shops, parking lots and airports.

The workers say the situation keeps getting worse , in particular due to the lack of affordable housing and the unavailability of sufficient housing resources provided by companies to accommodate their staffs.

More and more, the seasonal workers who come to the "Beautiful Island" to earn a decent salary — as is also happening on the nearby island of Mallorca with caravans — have to rely on their imagination, explorer skills, or simply making do to earn a much-needed income for their survival and that of their families throughout the year.

If you take a walk around Ibiza, you will soon find parking lots, some well-hidden and many of them near workplaces, filled with cars serving as living spaces, camper vans , old and new caravans, improvised camps in wooded areas, half-built buildings filled with mattresses, people sleeping on the beach.

Each worker finds their own way to make it through the season, if they manage to do so. In this report, we have spoken with some of those in this situation who have kindly shared their stories.

Keep reading... Show less

This Happened — August 14: Poland's Shipyard Strikes

Lech Wałęsa led strikes at the Gdańsk shipyards in Poland on this day in 1980. A Polish electrician and labor activist, he led the movement to protest against the oppressive Communist regime in Poland.

Get This Happened straight to your inbox ✉️ each day! Sign up here .

Keep reading... Show less

Now They're Diagnosing Burnout's Never-Quit Cousin: Burn-On

Feeling overworked but not yet burned out? Often the problem is “burn-on,” an under-researched phenomenon whose sufferers desperately struggle to keep up and meet their own expectations — with dangerous consequences for their health.

At first glance, Mr L seems to be a successful man with a well-rounded life: middle management, happily married, father of two. If you ask him how he is, he responds with a smile and a “Fine thanks”. But everything is not fine. When he was admitted to the psychosomatic clinic Kloster Diessen, Mr L described his emotional life as hollow and empty.

Although outwardly he is still putting on a good face, he has been privately struggling for some time. Everything that used to bring him joy and fun has become simply another chore. He can hardly remember what it feels like to enjoy his life.

For psychotherapist Professor Bert te Wildt, who heads the psychosomatic clinic in Ammersee in Bavaria, Germany, the symptoms of Patient L. make him a prime example of a new and so far under-researched syndrome, that he calls “burn-on”. Working with psychologist Timo Schiele, he has published his findings about the phenomenon in a book, Burn-On .

Keep reading... Show less
Gaspard Koenig

The Right To Laziness — A New French Theory To Put Work In Its Proper Place

A French politician recently made the case for the "right to laziness". In the era of the “great resignation” or "quiet quitting”, the idea is not as far-fetched as it sounds. After all, history shows us that work is a very recent human passion.


PARIS — “The value of work” has been one of French President Emmanuel Macron and his government's priorities in recent years. Communists, too, claim that working is a source of emancipation, while the classic liberalism makes labor the core of progress. Meanwhile, the tech enthusiasts who hold the real power today also see work as the only way to save the public accounts.

Big issues are at stake here: our whole social system — from calculating pensions to paying allowances — is driven by the hunt for that next job.

In the middle of all this, Sandrine Rousseau’s dissident voice rose up. The left-leaning French economist and politician started asking for a “right to laziness.”

Watch Video Show less
Prudence Phiri

Zambia, Trapped In A Generational Cycle Of Poverty

The pandemic has scuttled Zambia’s efforts to combat child labor and keep kids in school. The result is a generational cycle of poverty.

LUSAKA, ZAMBIA — A gray haze hovers above the garbage dump, a stain on an otherwise blue sky. Known as Marabo, the site unfurls across almost an acre of dirt, with mounds of plastic bags and cracked bottles baking under the midmorning sun. On the north end, dark green-and-black mud cakes the rubbish , emitting a sewer-like stench. The smell clings to the body long after one leaves.

Watch Video Show less
Migrant Lives
Julie Zaugg

The 'British Dream' Is A Dangerous Trap For Too Many Migrants

The United Kingdom is seen by migrants as the promised land. Many are prepared to embark on a perilous journey to get there. But on arrival, they often find that life is not what they expected. Some even discover working conditions resembling slavery.

LONDON — Huong was full of dreams. “I thought I’d live like a queen in the United Kingdom, that I’d eat well, that I’d be well-dressed and find an easy job with a high salary,” the Vietnamese young woman recalls. Her neighbors had a close relation who emigrated to the UK and regularly sent them money. “They built a beautiful house and bought themselves a huge car,” she remembers.

So she went on a quest for a migration agent. The British dream is the cause of a migration wave during which thousands of migrants from impoverished countries risk it all to reach the British shores. At the end of this perilous journey, far from finding the Holy Grail they had hoped for, many fall into the clutches of traffickers, having to work in conditions of modern slavery.

Watch Video Show less
Goutam Kumar Mahanty*

Fighting For Rights Of India's Women Garment Workers

The industrial enclave of Narol is a beehive of activity and a major source of employment for low-skilled female workers. Yet finding a job is one thing, surviving it is another.

NAROL — Situated on the outskirts of Ahmedabad, in the northwestern state of Gujarat , Narol is a very large industrial hub that manufactures readymade garments, especially jeans, shirts, pants and T-shirts for sale both in India and abroad. For the multinational companies operating there, it is money-making machine. And yet, very little of that cash-flow makes its way into the hands of impoverished workers, most of them women, and many of them migrants.

Narol attracts workers not just from the city and its rural hinterland, but from across India, especially from Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Rajasthan and Maharashtra. And just like their counterparts in Bangalore, as revealed in the study conducted by ICN in collaboration with the Garment Labour Union, workers in Narol earn meager salaries and work in precarious conditions, with little respite to the chronic poverty that their families face back home.

Watch Video Show less
Stuart Richardson

Black Friday Backlash From The Rest Of The World

Droves of customers stampeding through large department stores on Black Friday was once a uniquely American phenomena. But the traditional day-after Thanksgiving shopping sale event has recently gained traction in other countries that have no connection to the American holiday. The insatiable consumerism that fuels American capitalism, it seems, is a more viable export than ever.

Black Friday has caught on big in Europe the last few years, despite grumblings about the marketing madness from local critics of the American model. Large U.S.-based multinationals, like Amazon, have undoubtedly accelerated the spread, with online shopping convenience for what is otherwise a regular working day in the rest of the world.

Watch Video Show less
Marcel Fratzscher*

Globalization And Wealth Inequality, The German Counter-Case

There are various reasons the wage and wealth gap is growing, but in Europe's strongest economy it makes no sense to blame the global marketplace.


BERLIN — There's not a week that goes by without a headline around the world about people who've lost out in the job market because of globalization.

Watch Video Show less
Juan Francisco Ortega

Uber-Appalling Bogota Taxis Bring Competition On Themselves

Arguments for blocking the car service Uber are based exclusively on the fact that it brings unwelcome competition to cab drivers, and not at all on the welfare of drivers and passengers.


BOGOTÁ — Some debates ultimately get us all involved, and the one about whether Colombia should block that most populist of transportation options, the Uber car service, is one of them.

Watch Video Show less
Golan Hazani

A Singular Opportunity: Israel And China Fortify Economic Ties

BEIJING — For Yair Sarussi, chairman of Israel's Bank Hapoalim, China is getting closer by the day. "You can feel the Chinese everywhere," he told Calcalist . "Almost every week I meet three or four Chinese companies interested to come to Israel."

The Chinese presence is felt mainly in Israel's high-tech sector — with investment in venture capital, or directly in companies. According to several technology-sector sources, investors from China are gradually replacing the Americans.

Watch Video Show less